August 30, 2009

Crazy Love was Crazy Good

Crazy Love. Loved this book. It was at times difficult almost suffocating to read. Suffocating because I want to be involved with the divine works of the Lord each day of my life and I am not. The times that I have stepped out on faith with God the blessings that I have received from Him are breathtaking. I want that EVERY day. I want to live a life that is not Lukewarm. I have always swung the pendulum from one end to the other rarely sitting in the middle. Maybe that is why my spirit is restless when I am not hot or cold. I am grateful that the "hot" is what draws me now, I can't imagine being "cold" towards the Lord. It would be the worst thing I can imagine to not be seeking Him and asking for His love to fill me each day.

This book speaks to Christians. It really isn't for the non-believer. This book is for those of us who think that being a Christian shouldn't infringe on our comforts or our pleasures. This book is for those of us who think that sacrificing for the poor is giving up Starbucks for the week. This book is for those of us who would rather die than be lukewarm and we need to be shaken upside down by scripture to get our heart beating for the Lord, and wake us from this comfortable and sheltered daze we live in. This book is for those of us who struggle to love those who aren't easy to love.

Chapter 4 has a little quotation under the title, "profile of the lukewarm."
"It is not scientific doubt, not atheism, not pantheism, not agnosticism, that in our day and in this land is likely to quench the light of the gospel. It is a proud, sensuous, selfish, luxurious, church-going, hollow-hearted prosperity."

"Too much of the good life ends up being toxic, deforming us spiritually"David Goetz

I have to think about what I ask God for when I pray. Am I asking for comfort, material blessings, that raise we need, or am I asking God to make me stronger, no matter what it takes? Those words seem scary to me, but what is more scary? Missing the boat with God or loving my life a bit too much. Francis Chan talks about this a bit.

And I loved this quote:
"I quickly found that the American church is a difficult place to fit in if you want to live out New Testament Christianity. The goals of American Christianity are often a nice marriage, children who don't swear, and good church attendance. Taking the words of Christ literally and seriously is rarely considered. That's for the "radicals" who are "unbalanced" and who go "overboard." Most of us want a balanced life that we can control, that is safe, and that does not involve suffering."

This book is not just a commentary, it is filled with scripture and there is scriptural references for the points made. It is very difficult to look at these scriptures and deny that they are calling me out.

So what? What do I need to do to live a life that is pleasing to God. Not one that makes God want to spit me out of his mouth? Each person's calling is different. Each persons sacrifice is different. Francis Chan writes," God's definition of what matters is pretty straightforward. He measures our lives by how we love."

And isn't the depth of our love for others around us the gage for just how much we will sacrifice for them. Our money, time, resources...

Frederick Buechner writes in the Magnificent Defeat
"The love for equals is a human thing - of friend for friend, brother for brother. It is to love what is loving and lovely. The world smiles. The love for the less fortunate is a beautiful thing- the love for those who suffer, for those who are poor, the sick, the failures, the unlovely. This is compassion, and it touches the heart of the world. The love for the more fortunate is a rare thing-to love those who succeed where we fail, to rejoice without envy with those who rejoice, the love of the poor for the rich, the black man for the white man. The world is always bewildered by its saints. And then there is the love for the enemy-love for the one who does not love you but mocks, threatens, and inflicts pain. The tortured's love for the torturer. This is God's love. It conquers the world."
Ah. That. Is. What. I. Want. To be a vessel that submits to God to shower His love to the world. To those who are easy to be around, and to those who aren't. God help me love those who are my equals, those who suffer, those who are poor, the sick, the failures, the unlovely, help love those who are more fortunate than me, help me love those who succeed where I fail, to rejoice without envy with those who rejoice, and God help me love those who mock me, help me love them with Your supernatural love. Help me love those who hurt my children and cause them pain. Help me love those who without you would not be possible.

This book is a great read to accompany Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire that I read a month or so ago. On my own the love and sacrifice I am called to seem too hard, too tiring, too impossible, but if I dedicate time for prayer and submit myself to God in that way, then the love I am called to seem's possible with God. I believe that prayer and then follow thru are my next steps.

August 28, 2009

Crazy Love

I am in the midst of reading several books right now. One I am reading along with my class at church, Revolutionary Parenting, by George Barna. Staying with the class discussion on this so I am through chapter 1 and passed it on to Rob for him to read the first chapter. This book studies 25 kids who live disciple lives and their parents. I am sure I will have more to say on this book the farther I get into it. Looking forward to this focused study in bible class.

Second book, just started. Fearless by Max Lucado.

His books are always wonderful. This book in particular I had been counting down the days to the release date. Partially because Max Twitter's and it has been an interesting process following along with the stages of this book. But mostly because this is a hot topic of mine. To live life fearless. As one who lived in fear for most of her life, the ability to step away from that and live a life not defined by fear, but defined by hope and strength from the Lord, this subject is one that I continue to enjoy. Max is always inspiring.

Thirdly, I am about half way through Crazy Love by Francis Chan.

This is "the book" that it seems is everywhere right now. Angie's (who's hubby sings with Selah) Bring the Rain blog is about to read this as a book club. Ragamuffin is talking about Francis Chan on his blog. Small groups are tackling it.

What can I say about this book, but I have suspected these thoughts for a while now but no one has ever confirmed them in such an in your face kind of way. Many years ago I started really BELIEVING what the bible said, yes literally. It all started with Beth Moore's study Believing God, then Jack got sick and I really had to put my money where my mouth was regarding my faith. Then other area's started to change for me, everything...the way I loved others, my desire's for myself, the idea of what it should look like to be a middle class citizen in America who claims to be a Christian. I want to love Christ with all of me, I ask that He will show me just what He calls me to. It is hard to read a book like this and know what to do with what you are reading. The temptation is to do nothing, it is all so overwhelming. God convict me and make it clear.

If you have read any of these books please let me know what you think.

August 26, 2009

Wednesday Catch Up

Wednesday, Routine has arrived. Summer routine became the norm around here, I think I forgot what it was like to have a block in my day to work productively. Ahhhhhh. I remember now. I have put my nose to the grindstone, or in todays terms, fingers to the keyboard and mouse. I am taking a part of each day to reorganize my boys room. Eeeek is all I have to say about that. I wanted to take a picture of my kids shoes this year, Derek has after many, many years moved from the tennis shoe as his shoe of choice to van's, Jack ofcourse has his new purple Chuck Taylor's and Sophie a pretty rainbow tennis shoe. I love how each of them have chosen shoes that fit their personalities. I haven't taken that pic yet, but will. In the stead of that picture here is a picture of shoes in the style of when I was in high school. I took this pic at my 40th birthday party 18 months ago or so. On any given day the footwear in this picture could be seen on campus during my high school years. My personal choice were the witchy poo boots, don't know what the real name was for them, but that is what we called them.


All the kids are enjoying school, even Jack to his dismay is enjoying being back in routine. We go to Dallas next week for Jack's next MRI and Oncology visit.


I am really focusing on getting my work caught up this week on the my absence from here will continue for a bit longer.


Ted Kennedy....a loss for our country. I am amazed at all he accomplished in his lifetime. It seems the words..."You have been given need to give back." Spoken from the Kennedy boys parents decades ago were words that drove the Kennedy's over the years. I appreciate one perspective from a news man this morning, when he was talking about the bad choices Ted Kennedy made when he was young, then the to the man he came to be he said...he grew up. I believe that those who are not in the public eye have a gift of not having news footage to live out their worst moments for the rest of their lives. May God bless the Kennedy family as they mourn another family member's loss.

August 21, 2009

72 hours till Routine Arrives.

Friday morning. 3 days and the kids go back to school, which for me means is much more productivity. Clean my house once in the morning and it will stay clean for a good 7 hours, running the dishwasher once a day rather than twice, working on the computer without feeling guilty because my kids will be at school working too. I do love summertime and I do love my kids being home, but routine is helpful.

No great thoughts here today, just wanted to say hello and now....laundry.

August 18, 2009

Plans in the Making.

Just checking in. Enjoying the kids last week at home before school starts up. Had our book club meeting tonight, finished discussing Searching For God Knows What by Donald Miller. Counting down the days until ACU's Summit (a.k.a. Lectureship) I always love the classes and can't wait to hear Donald Miller and Kathleen Norris whose books we have chosen for our book clubs this year. Good times.


Making some life choices this week, or at least starting to plow some new ground. For the last 7 or so years I have wanted to go back to school and finish my degree. Between Jack's cancer and just having younger children in general along with my business it just hasn't seemed like it was the right time. It seems that I am being prompted by the Holy Spirit to start this endeavor in the next year. I went today and talked with Lynda at the Bachelor of Applied Studies program at ACU and she gave me some great info on re-entering college. I will start filling out paperwork and getting official transcripts in hopes that the Spring might be when I become an official student again. I am scared to death, this all seems overwhelming to me, but I know that I can do it with God's help throughout the process. I am assured that this desire to go back to school is not leaving after dealing with it for what seems like almost a decade now. I might as well jump in and get started. I will have some hours that will transfer over which will be a blessing, and I am thrilled to tentatively have in mind the major of Biblical Text. God's word thrills me to no end, and I have an insatiable appetite to learn more, this track will be a wonderful experience and I pray that God will use me no matter where I am. Biblical Text attracts many future pulpit preachers, but for me it offers a thorough knowledge in God's word and the Greek Language. My hopes and dreams are that I will continue my education to be able to reach a level that I can be an instructor, and that it will give me a wonderful foundation on which to share the love of Christ with all of His amazing children through writing, speaking to women and in my day to day life. Those are my hopes, but I want nothing more than (or less than) the plan God has for me and I am thrilled to follow His guidance.

p.s. My photography business is something that I will continue as I love it so much and I can work my business around family and school, what a blessing.


Sophie and I made Fried Green Tomatoes today they were deelish. My daughter is a future chef I am sure of it. She is a natural in the kitchen in every way. I have told the story here that she is in charge of our Thanksgiving turkey each year and has been since she was 4, well today as I was planning on letting her watch me make the tomatoes (hot oil freaks me out and I don't feel comfortable frying anything) she worked her way into the preparation and did it all with the greatest of ease.

August 11, 2009

Cardboard Testimonies Rocked The Mom's

Just returned home from Rockin' Moms which takes place the 2nd Tuesday of each month. Rockin Mom's is an outreach program that takes place at City Light which is a ministry of First Baptist Church.

I really love attending and helping out. I really don't do much but make up name tags for the ladies as they come in and welcome them. I love meeting people who I wouldn't necessarily meet in my normal routine. This ministry gives women a place to belong, City Lights serves the homeless and low income of Abilene.

Several months ago my home congregation Southern Hills did Cardboard Testimonies, it was such a powerful and emotional time to witness people share where God has brought them from. From drugs to drug free, depressed to joyous, afraid to many different testimonies. The Lord reminded me of the Cardboard Testimonies when I was visiting with Maura who works with City Lights and Rockin' Moms. I emailed her the links to where she could watch them on line. I didn't know if she would be interested in trying it at Rockin Mom's, but she was willing to give it a try. Many of the workers and volunteers were doubtful that this group of women would be open enough to share where they have been and the victory of where they are now because of Christ.

It never dawned on me to be concerned about participation, I knew God would touch the hearts of the women He wanted to testify with their own piece of cardboard (or in our case, construction paper). I didn't really plan out what I would say, I believed that the Spirit would be in control and if this night would be successful that it would be only because of the plan God has, not because I would have the right thing to say. I prayed God would give me His words tonight. I shared a little about what a Cardboard Testimony was and then shared mine with them. My cardboard testimony had my struggle with drugs on one side and then the other drug free and totally in love with Jesus. I knew that this testimony would be one that many of them would relate to from their own past or through those they love....the women cheered for Jesus when they read what God had done for me. Then one after another the women started writing their own testimonies, I don't know how many testified but it was a lot. The testimonies ranged from depression, drugs, physically beaten in relationships, fear, then the flip side was their deliverance. Some women just took the microphone and testified about major struggles in their lives, one being homeless and lonely to another who was given peace through a child's illness. Each time someone shared their testimony the other women would hoot and holler and clap praising God.

After all was said and done many had tears in their eyes, and I know the presence of the Lord was thick, and God was smiling. His beloved children were sharing the miracle of transformation in their lives, because of His love and forgiveness.

When we allow God to shine He does so mightily, and His love was so bright tonight I am sure that there was a glow about City Lights. I am grateful to serve a Risen Savior. I love Him so.

Click here to see a Cardboard Testimony.

August 10, 2009

Shoes, Shoes, and more Shoes.

Today we woke up, cleaned the house, visited with some friends that dropped by then headed out to the stores. All the kids NEEDED new shoes for school. Sophie needed tennis shoes for gym, Derek needed football cleats and Jack's red converse have several holes worn through them. So shoe shopping for hours was what we did. Jack was easy, he knew what he wanted, although the original color we went in for had been discontinued. He wanted The Who Converse, they had a design that had the colors of the British flag. Unfortunately the shoes had been discontinued, we had gone in to look at them and even try them on but decided to wait till a bit closer to the end of summer before purchasing...big mistake. He quickly found a new color he liked.

A couple stores later and our mission was accomplished. Derek also is hoping for a pair of Van's to wear to school, then we have dance class shoes,...3 pairs of shoes down, 3 more to go.

August 06, 2009

Talkative Baby - You Tube

This is so funny. The little girl is talking ninety to nothing and her sweet daddy is attentively trying to pay attention.

August 05, 2009

Apple Camp

I was so blessed to be asked to teach a photography lesson to two sessions of kids on Monday. The kids are attending Apple Camp at ACU. This is a trial year, the kids of all the tech people were invited to attend 3 hours a day for 5 days this week to learn about the Apple Computer, iphoto, garageband, imovie and all that goes with that, including editing, rendering, burning...I was totally excited that my kids were able to attend because I would be helping out on Monday. My kids are having so much fun, they have learned loads and are making quite the exciting presentations for all us parents on Friday.

Here are some pictures of my kids while they were snapping away on Monday. After my presentation that I made on Keynote was finished we all headed outside to some designated locations for the kids to shoot their own pics, then bring them back to the computer lap where they edited them in iphoto and created a slideshow to music.

August 04, 2009

Book Club - Good Stuff

The last week has all run together. It has been full to say the least. Today is the first day I have had to come up for air, my house is now relatively clean. I cleaned my studio/gallery out last week and brought everything home, and put it in the middle of my living room. I have had no time to work on putting it all away and finding nooks and crannies for things I don't want to get rid of. As of about 3pm there are no picture frames, boxes, the middle of my living room, they have all found there way to their assigned areas in my home. Ahhhhh.

Went to the dentist today, had a cleaning, my teeth still hurt. My report was good, I have good strong teeth that don't get cavities. I am thankful for that.


Book Club was tonight. Our first of two gatherings to discuss, "Searching For God Knows What" by Donald Miller. We all enjoyed reading the book, and enjoyed talking about what we found interesting and noteworthy.

The first part of the book Donald really brings home the theme that there are no bullet points, no formulas, God. God is about relationship. Donald then talks about how he told God that he didn't believe He existed. He finds it humorous later in the book that he told something that he thought didn't exist, that it didn't exist. He finds his way back to believing in God, but not the god he had believed in before.

Here is a exert from page 36:
"I tell you all this only to say I came back to God. All the complexity about life was begging for an explanation; and me actually being god wasn't answering very many questions. And so in a way I left the old god of easy answers, the god who was always wanting me to be rich or wanting my country to be better than other countries, or for that matter, for me to be better than you. I left that god the preachers talk about on television and the politicians mention in their prayers. But I left room open for another God, a God who might explain my existence, explain the complexity of my hands and feet and feelings and the very strange mysterious fact that even as I type this I am breathing."

and love this too:

page 46:
"I began to wonder if becoming a Christian did not work more like falling in love than agreeing with a list of true principles. I had met a lot of people who agreed with all those true principles, and they were jerks, and a lot of other people who believed in those principles, but who also claimed to love Jesus who were not jerks. It seems like something else has to take place in the heart for somebody to become a believer, for somebody to understand the gospel of Jesus. It began to seem like more than just a cerebral exercise. What if the gospel of Jesus was an invitation to know God?"